Mighty Max: Looking Back
Restrospective of my favorite TV show growing up
Sometime in the early 90's, and I don't remember how(I was only born in 1988) I was introduced to a cartoon by the name of Mighty Max. Like all great cartoons it was based around a toy series of the same name. I couldn't tell you if i was introduced to the show or toys first, but i can tell you i was absolutely infatuated with both.
The show centered around a kid named Max who at the time was just the absolute coolest kid on the face of the earth in the eyes of this young viewer.
One birthday received a baseball cap on his birthday with a note that read-
"You have been chosen to be the cap-bearer. Go to the mini-mart and wait for a sign, Mighty Max"
As it turned out the hat gave him the power to open up portals to locations all around the world. Max now being the legendary cap bearer had a responsibility to defeat the evil and totally cool looking Skullmaster voiced by none other than It himself Tim Curry. Skullmaster wanted the magic cap to take over the world, or something just as ridiculous.
Max was not forced to fight this menace alone though, in fact he had 2 of the coolest sidekicks the 90's had to offer.
One was a wise sage-like fowl by the name of Virgil. Virgil's was the "smart guy" in the group and looking back Max should have listened to him more.
More importantly in the group was Max's massive bodyguard Norman. Norman was Brock Samson before there was Brock Samson. He wore a chain lock for a belt and carried around a gigantic sword, and on top of that he was immortal. He was the epitome of cool. His catchphrase was as follows-
"I eat (insert enemy) for breakfast."
And he did. Over the course of the show he stomped countless enemies without ever breaking a sweat. (With the exception of spiders)He was tougher than Rambo, Predator, Boba Fett, and Wolverine combined. a mighty claim but a valid one. he was the kind of guy who ate tree bark and washed it down with grain alcohol. Here he is in all of his glory.
What was awesome about this show was how "mature" it was in comparison to some other shows on a the time. As I recall quite a few episodes opened up implying the brutal death of some kind of innocent people. One episode in particular opened up with 2 researchers meeting their end to a chainsaw wielding monster.
The show also referenced characters in mythology and literature such as Beowulf and Thor. something I never picked up on as a 7 or so year old kid, but definitely cool now looking back watching the episodes on Youtube.
Another memorable thing about the show were some of the other villains. My personal favorites were The Conqueror and Cyberskull. Conqueror was a massive ugly troll looking thing that killed Norman's father and came back a few hundred years later to finish off Norman. Cyberskull was some nerd who made a virus to turn digital monsters real. What was also unique about the show was that some of these bad guys were actually killed off. Conqueror himself being thrown off a cliff by Norman. As a kid who grew up on cheesy action movies this was definitely a plus.
The finale however was not as satisfying. It involved killing off Norman and Virgil, and looping the series back to the beginning thanks to a timewarp at Stonehenge. I remember thinking I remember being crushed at how incredibly lazy this was, and knowing that i would never get proper resolution out of the story. Even at almost 20 years old this still bothers me.
The show did however last long compared to some of the other shows of the era. While Swat Kats lasted 24 episodes Mighty Max ended up with about 40. not bad at all considering the attention span of most kids. Rumor has it there was going to be a movie to conclude the series but it just never happened.
the other big part of this series was of course, the toys. Simply put, Polly Pocket for boys. Which of course made it better. They were miniature playsets that folded out to make really cool looking scenes. For instance a coiled up snake that unfolded into a snake pit with a giant scorpion. There were also bigger sets that came with other characters besides max. Skull Mountain being the biggest and coolest came with Max, Norman, Virgil, and Skullmaster. There was also some kind of dragon island and a jet that looks like it was stolen from the X-men.
Besides Skull Mountain I had one called Magus who was a giant lava battle robot thing if that makes any sense at all. Within 45 minutes of owning Magus i had already lost most of his small parts (missiles and such) What good times they were/
Like many great shows of the 90's (Spiderman, X-men, Swat Kats)there is no official DVD Release so in order to watch this gem one has to look towards the internet. Oh well one can hope for an official release someday.